Materials, Archives, and Technologies

Whether we’re engaged in historical understanding or aesthetic response or both, our engagement with the past starts with material traces and archives. Much recent recent research across Oxford, however, engages with the material object and with archives in a range of creative ways, whether studying the circulation, for example of art objects through the early modern world, or the book as a material object, or what the organisation of archives can tell us about knowledge economies.

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The Mobility of Objects:

Taylor Editions:

Printing, Translating and Singing the Reformation:

Oxford Bibliographical Society:

TEXT! -- a regular (roughly fortnightly) newsletter on archives, material texts, and culture from the early modern, and beyond,

'Recovering lost print culture: a database of printed waste in books 1500-1700', a collaboration between Adam Smyth, Megan Heffernan (DePaul, Chicago) and Anna Reynolds (Sheffield).

Digital Humanities and Sensory Heritage Network: Space, Objects and the Senses:

Leah Clark, Courtly Mediators: Transcultural Objects Between Renaissance Italy and the Islamic World (Cambridge University Press, 2023)

—— Co-editor with Katherine Wilson, Mobility of Objects Across Boundaries 1000-1700 (Liverpool University Press, 2022)

—— Collecting Art in the Italian Renaissance Court:Objects and Exchanges (Cambridge University Press, 2018) 

——Co-editor with Kathleen Christian. European Art and the Wider World 1350-1550 (Book 1, Art and Its Global Histories) (Manchester University Press, 2017)

Adam Smyth, Book Parts (Oxford, 2019)

—— Material Texts in Early Modern England (Cambridge, 2018)

—— A History of English Autobiography (Cambridge University Press, 2016)

—— with Juliet Fleming and William Sherman, special edition of the Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (2015) on ‘Renaissance Collage: Towards a New History of Reading’.

—— Book Destruction from the Medieval to the Contemporary (Palgrave 2014, with Gill Partington)

—— Autobiography in Early Modern England (Cambridge, 2010

Routledge book series, 'Material Readings in Early Modern Culture', co-edited by Adam Smyth and James Daybell, currently 28 titles, details at

Inscription: The Journal of Material Text – Theory, Practice, History, edited by Adam Smyth, Gill Partington, and Simon Morris (annual 2020-), details at